Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Virtue, Transcendence and UPB

Virtue, Transcendence and UPB

      The history of ethics from Aristotle to the present day has been a history of failures, of grand holes within incomplete theories that the State used for his own ends, a history of serving evil. The acolyte of Aristotle conquered the known world; the Christian ethics was – and still is - but a means to maintain obedience both to the light-wielding masters and the fellow slaves; Kant is, well… let’s just quote Leonard Peikoff here, who wrote “[t]hose who accept any part of Kant’s philosophy—metaphysical, epistemological or moral—deserve it;” utilitarianism slumbers deep within the heart of statism, and so on.
      Therefore I would let the endless quarrel on the works of madmen such as Descartes and Plato to those academics whose aim is not to help the world, but to bar its progress.
      Progress can be found within the ethical framework of Stefan Molyneux, the Universally Preferable Behavior, which will be the foundation of our current efforts to discover and define virtue. In short, he argues that any ethical theory (that we present as ‘it is universally preferable to do X’ or it is ‘ethical to do X’) must be universal, applicable to all human in any given time. Ethical theories must be consistent.
      He also proposes two thought experiments as the methods of testing a theory, the first is what he calls ‘coma test,’ which says that since the logical opposite of a moral theory is immoral behavior, if we put forth a positive moral proposition such as ‘it is moral to give to the charity,’ a man in coma, or in a situation in which he cannot give to the charity becomes immoral, therefore no positive moral proposition can be universalized. The second thought experiment is what is called, its name derived from ancient Greek, ‘two guys in the room,’ in which we are trying to establish whether the given moral proposition (such as murder, rape is universally preferable, or altruism is moral) can be achieved simultaneously by both parties.
      Going further into the realm of virtue, we will need the second thought experiment, the ‘two guys in the room.’ Propositions such as ‘eating is UPB’ would pass it, but ones such as ‘theft is UPB’ would not. For the detailed explanation of this see Universally Preferable Behavior: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics, written by Stefan Molyneux, pages 75-81.

      Let us examine what we mean by virtue in our everyday language. First off, apart from those interested in philosophy, the word ‘virtue’ is not too often used. But I believe all men and women whose minds are reasonably healthy and refrain from violent behavior would recognize some form of virtuous behavior if they see it. The concept of a superhero evokes this feeling of admiration, of respect that one feels when he encounters with virtue. Or upon seeing the lone “Tank Man” of Tiananmen Square one feels a certain kind of awe and respect, and the smallness of his own self.
      But virtue, I would argue can manifest itself devoid of life-threatening adversity.  A man who fights and wins against his addiction of drugs to regain his health and his family would almost universally be considered virtuous, yet he fights only against his own soul. An entrepreneur who believes that his product can change the human landscape, and works for endless, midnight hours until he can sell it would be considered virtuous. Even if he does it for his own ends, not because he desires to help mankind, but because he finds joy in doing so, seeing the determination and strength would evoke the same respect.
       Now, let us note that trying to define what virtue is from an emotionalist standpoint would never work, for that it is completely subjective. An objectivist would feel tremendous respect by looking at the last example, while a Kantian altruist would find no ethical value in his works, or Marxist would call our hero an oppressive capitalist, and would want to sacrifice him to the good of the collective.
      There is however a more objective effect of a virtuous behavior, a notion that I propose in my novel, Rebirth of a Theocracy. I call it Transcendence, and I define it as an event of historical explosion triggered by the accumulated life experience of an individual gained through virtuous behavior, which results in significant personal alterations and has major, objectively measurable interpersonal or cultural impact.
      What it means is that virtues such as the Four Cardinal Virtues, or determination, or fortitude have consequences in a society. And those consequences act as an explosion, spreading a meme, a thought, an idea, a role model, an emotion through the interconnected web of the human world. The end product of virtue, the data that is sent through this system, whether it is a product that greatly enhances the human experience, a poem that resonates with countless hearts in pain, a new way of thinking about life, about existence and the physical domain or a great feat of architecture that looms over men in the crowded metropolis is the objective way of detecting virtue.
      No great work was done between two hedonistic orgies; they were born by the dedicated hard work of an inspired soul. An infinite idea that would have changed the face of human landscape was lost for that it was not followed by virtue, and in the end Transcendence.
      And we can also see the value of the consequence of virtue if we imagine a man who invents the scientific method and the basic principles and discoveries of physics, chemistry or any other sciences in the year 2015. He would not be celebrated as a great thinker; he would be mocked, laughed at, or at best, he’d be given a prize of participation from true heroes of the world.
      Let us finally connect all these with UPB.
      In such cases as fighting back a bully, truly defending a homeworld or saving a victim from a robbing we can clearly see the nature of the actions; they fight back the darkness. Such actions defend basic rights upon which any thriving society is built, the right to life, liberty and property. They fight the entropy that wants to devour the data of the human soul.
      However the nature of those virtues that would be propagated by Ayn Rand, such as the independent and creative work of a human mind differs. It creates value instead of protecting it, though the protection itself is a kind of creation since the protector is the cause of the value’s further existence, but let us drive through this corpse for now on and pretend that the Randian virtues are the only that create value just for the sake of easy understanding.
      The creation of a technological, scientific, artistic and entrepreneur achievement furthers the existence of the community. It helps the individuals within it survive in an environment of plenty instead of predation. Devoid of those there are no products to consume and services to use; society falls back into the primordial primitivism and darkness, giving way to the initiation of force as a highly rewarding means of survival. Without the labor and adversity thinkers, artist and philosophers face there is no morality to guide men’s actions. Without science there can be no understanding of the world around us, and the void will be filled by myths and superstitions. Without technology and without the work of a ‘capitalist,’ there are no means to reach the masses with the knowledge of the thinkers.
      And so without the Prime Movers, the world falls back into a state in which violence is more profitable than production.
      So what is the nature of the second kind of virtuous behavior? It fights back the darkness the same way as the first does, by offering an alternative path to the wielder of the dark: the path of prosperity, of health and joy within a cooperative world that bows in obedience to any consumer demand.
      Let us go back to Stefan Molyneux’s UPB. He argues that there are certain behaviors, such as those that violate the non-aggression principle that cannot be universal, those that we deem evil. And in the spirit of UPB, my conclusion about virtue is that virtuous action is that which actively and either directly or indirectly opposes behavior that cannot be universal.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Rebirth of a Theocracy - Chapter IX


Two Armies

“your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.”

The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

      Solaris Midsummer lived through darkness, and vowed to end it with his might.
      Solaris saw plague spreading through his home, where there was no chance to cure the ailment. No technology was accessible to them for that they lived a world that could not sustain great expenses, where the collective owned the means of production. If they ever tried to thrive, food began to disappear from the market that used no price. Such was the nature of a system with no money involved. Not knowing the losses they made, they wasted the scarce resources they owned, like the time and energy of the fellow comrades, resources that could no longer supply the most crucial demands.
      And the plague, the dying, pleading, praying shells of souls that filled the squares reminded him of nightmares, of nightmares that he wished, but could not control. And his dreams reminded him of the truth, of the true and dreadful nightmare that shown him how frail a resource is life, and how easy it is to lose it.
      He saw child abuse from first hand. For questioning what was sacred he faced a closed door from the stormy, dark midnight. For standing up for what he deemed right screaming threats filled the airwaves. For resisting commands he was beaten until he obeyed, until he could not breathe from crying, until he had to beg for them to stop, until he learnt where his place was, until his mind went numb from the pain, and acted without control, until his soul was crushed to fine dust.
      And within all that violence, within all that pain and torture, the glimpse of hope have touched him, hope that whispered that he could become someone who rules this nightmare. Not now, not in time he could foresee, but a force existed, a force could be wielded that would repel all the darkness, all the pain…
      He saw rebellion and war, war between those who created cash, and those who hated them for it. And as chaos slowly ensued, the young Solaris departed from his homeland, following the whispers of the old god, who promised him the freedom from the chains.
      He gave in to the old god of the State.
      And when he arrived to the colony that had no name, about which he heard tales of greatness, but also of grand hate, he saw suffering even more. There wasn’t more unjust pain, the principle of non-aggression viciously purged all who caused it, but the pain was not buried under the guise of what is normal; it was openly talked about, embracing the grief they lived through.
      It frightened him. The absence of a veil that covers the madness filled him with sorrow.
      “But the time is nigh,” he thought, “when there will be no more darkness, no more pain…”
      From the seven colonies of Mars, he was connected with all the minds from six of them. The web of the consciousness that they called Hypnos has spread throughout the Red Planet. Behind it the technology was crafted with great care. It was paid by the profit Solaris made throughout the years, from the endless pursuing of missions and the selling of his past, and now only one fortress of men stands defiantly against his will, one kingdom of the old world.
      He saw through the eye of a hundred soldiers the approaching starship of Rade Nightwood. Hypnos, the vast intelligence scattered into million minds stood, they all stood waiting for the attack. The technology connecting its parts into one was designed by Solaris to retain some sense of the self. Closing on, the members of the One lost their identity the more they approached each other, and standing next to one another, they became a single conscious being. But when the parts moved back away from each other, their unique self was able to emerge once again.
      Solaris meditated in a colony far away from the approaching starship. No other soul resided in that land. He saw clearly into the minds of others, influencing their thoughts from the distance. And the minds, all the different minds who had once own dreams and future answered in one choir of obedience to their master to whom they gave their soul, who promised them a life with no more nightmares, for that that future will be one endless tale of waking dream from then on, a dream dreamt by their master.
      The starship soared above the soldiers and deployed Raoul Seoc. He landed into the front of the crowd with care not to crush a single man with the impact force. Several layers of shields have protected his body, living skin made of nanodrones, breaking apart the atomic structure of anything that touched it, magnetic force that repelled incoming bullets and the great shield itself that he held in one hand, bearing the crest of black and gold, a black sword, its blade glowing with green light made of Martian ores and cutting laser on his other hand. He kneeled down behind the protection of his shield.
      The troops opened fire at him.
       Solaris saw that it was Raoul, whom he tried desperately to keep away from the war, and his once-determined mind was now looking for all possible ways to spear the life of his opponent. “Why can’t you see that I am on your side?” he pleaded. And as the confusion grew even larger inside him, realizing the loss of his good friend, the starship dropped Commie-Buster and Oana Rain down behind the combat.
      Oana Rain was a musician, and the greatest musicians inside the nameless colony used androids as the instruments of their art. As Commie-Buster placed down a disruption device, blue threads of whips emerged out of Oana’s hand, shooting toward each member of the army. Matter, gentle as the light, capable only of transmitting data sought the computer port for each mind. The nano-drones that helped the threads to fly devoured the input device connecting to Hypnos, and replaced it with the whips.
      The connection between each other broke, and in that moment a new host breached into their mind through the implant of Solaris; the will of Oana Rain.
      The members of the army holding Raoul under fire stopped, the flame extinguishing of their eyes, turning them into puppets under her control.
      “I’m holding them,” she yelled. Raoul stood up from behind his shield.
      “Great work, guys,” he replied, taking down his helm. “Now what?”
      Commie-Buster looked at Oana, and through his eyes the whole nation.
      “Remember that they are paying us for not to kill any of them.”
      “I know, I know,” Oana replied in annoyance. “I’m thinking.”
      A voice called for them, resonating within their skulls.
      “The surface level of the city is empty; however the radar caught abnormal activities of heat and sound from below the center under surface level. I’m landing, and I’ll be waiting for you here.”
      “Oana,” asked Raoul, “should we wait for you, or go and check what Rade found?”
      She waved her hands, the tentacles followed the movement.
      “I’m fine, the gloves can hold it forever, or at least for days, so you can go.”
      Raoul and his assistant ran, leaving Oana and the hundred eyes of Hypnos. They followed the signaling light of the starship. Within the nameless colony, people gathered at home or in the squares, in the bars, in the libraries to watch the streaming of the first scouting expedition paid voluntary by the masses.
      They approached the heart of the city, a plain concrete square, connecting eight roads, roads toward each direction of the compass. Around the square and all throughout the city grey ten stories high, concrete buildings were built, forbidding any divergence from each other. The ship was landed on the square near the northern district, and Rade Nightwood stood in the middle, smoking a cigar. Behind Rade and the starship, from far away in the distance the first signs of a gathering storm cloud were seen; an approaching darkness shrouding the sunlight.
      “We’re descending,” he yelled towards them, standing above a hole that resembled of an entrance to the sewers.
      “You sure?” asked Raoul as they arrived.
      “Listen to the sounds,” he answered, and in the silence that followed they all heard the dim, repeating, high-pitched clanking echoing from the ground. They began their descent into the unknown, crawling down and down in the dark tunnel. Touching the ground, they faced an open gate and behind it a mine filled with working slaves.
      “Oh my god. Prepare to fight,” Raoul said, but there was no alarm to detect them, no guards to charge at them. The workers did not look up; they did heard but did not care about the newcomers. Thinking of the worst, of seeing more women or children being dragged down into the mines, they dared not to look up.
      “Why are they working?” Commie-Buster asked. “Are they even alive, or are they part of the cult? No, they are not part of the cult; they transmit no information to each other through any channel that is known. Why are they working?”
      “Hey!” Raoul cried out. “Stop working! You don’t have to do it anymore!”
      Commie-Buster’s eyes caught a man raising his head towards Raoul, straightening up and lowering the pick in his hand. The man next to him hissed, whispered and growled until that single source of freedom in his mind died out, and he returned to work. Those who watched the stream in the colony were outraged by the sight.
      “This is what Nietzsche called slave morality,” one said.
      “That right there is the lifeblood of communism,” another argued.
      “I wonder if they are beyond recovery,” a third pronounced the question that begun haunting their minds.
      But out of the sounds of the aligned strikes on the stone emerged a distant shouting from deep inside the cave.
      “Let me go through!” a young man demanded from the slaves. “Let me go or by the Lightning I swear I will kill you!”
      Barring his way were standing three other slaves, ranging from elderly to young, commanding him to return to the work.
      “We are in this together, Benjamin,” one of them warned the young man. “You will either go back or we will force you to return.”
      Benjamin looked up straight into his eye and said:
      “Give me liberty, or give me death.”
      “You son of a…” one of the slaves said in anger and raised his fist. As he thrusted his hand forward, Rade aimed with his rifle and shot, paralyzing the man before he struck. The numbed body collapsed into the ground, the consciousness within it forced into slumber. The other two slaves in dread jumped out the way of the young man, who walked past the neutralized body.
      “Did you kill him?” he asked.
      “No, but the projectile contained a neural virus. He is dreaming,” Rade answered.
      “Who are you?” he asked.
      “We are the bourgeoisie coming to help you,” Commie-Buster answered. “What is this place?”
      “This place is the prison of the colony.  You can find all kinds of criminals here, rapists, murderers, people who refused to work what the collective wanted them to work and so on.”
      “How did you end up here?” Raoul asked.
      “I,” he straightened up in pride, “I began teaching shamanism.”
      “Whoa, how? Why? How did you even know about shamanism?” Raoul asked.
      “The storm is gathering, and it reaches the verge of the colony in approximately thirty minutes,” Commie-Buster announced. “And Oana Rain is out there.”
      “Some rain won’t hurt Oana,” Rade said.
      “Your unintended pun is false, Rade. This is a severe thunderstorm; I estimate the wind to be at least sixty-four miles per hour.”
      “Ah, it is that time of the week again…” Benjamin said. “The guy is right; you should hurry if you want to escort your friend to safety.”
      “Do you know who is here for non-violent crimes, Benjamin?” Raoul asked.
      “I know who participated in rebellions,” he answered.
      Rade returned to the surface, awaiting the liberated with his starship, and the others rushed through the mines. Benjamin pointed at the rebels, and Commie-Buster pointed his rifle to the slaves around them until they walked out in safety and joined the ever-growing group. They found them all, but the criminals begun demanding freedom for themselves or for nobody else either. And the numbed bodies began to pile up as Commie-Buster covered Raoul and the rebels crawling towards freedom.
      The violent brutes were left within the darkness of the deep pit, with the dim lights of the torches and the automated feeding system. For time eternal they were forced to work by their peers, and enforced the work of the others. And when a soul, within the deep meditation of clashing stone with metal finds reason, finds peace, and tries to share it with the fellow human beings he deems worthy of redemption, they scorn him, they laugh at him, and if the newborn soul is persistent in carrying the light, and for a moment that light exposes the landscape of their dark souls, they kill him.
      Oana Rain marched the army of Hypnos aboard the starship. Whether it was the strength of the hardware within their brain, or the weakness of their self, she did not know, but she found maintaining control over these men to be easier than over a choir. Her mind was free to wonder while waiting, deciding to yield the final judgement over those souls to a market driven law court, and to teach those who wish to change ethics, and the history of ethics. But when she felt empowered by the volition of the act, and wanted to propose the idea to Raoul, she backed down.
      “After all,” she thought, and she thought of her daughter, “who would trust the teaching of ethics to someone who is banished.”  
***

      Within the Vatican, the Transcendence of countless souls was bursting through the barriers of thought, of culture, and those within the minds. Under the influence of such Prime Movers as Cantharis the Prime and Ana Mionar, who walked tirelessly among mankind, talking to them, reaching to their souls, connecting with them, validating the suffering they lived through, and through this validation, through helping them to face their pains, healing their scarred, violent selves.
      It became the world of thousand revolutions. Ana set children against their households - against their tyrant, abusive households that was the foundation of the State, teaching the children to reject violence and the mental abuse they went through, Meito taught them to think critically, through the scientific method, evaluate the world with reason and not faith, and Cantharis helped them to face life, the way he was forced to face it when he was a child, a young and battered child who was taught how to find strength within himself and only within himself, and now passes that lesson through to the new life.
      And behind all this, within the shadows of the nights echoed the voice of the Shaman, the voice and the distant thunders behind, whispering “when the children are set free, the State will wither away.“
      Through the education of the young came the revolution that tore apart the public school. When the children who was once abandoned, who was once stuck between the world of their home, where they faced no secure points, only the endless heaving of the world around them, the punishments and rewards, the duty to obey, and between the cold, dark world that offered no place for them until they embraced the torture of social rituals that seemed endless in time for them, now were given a third choice, the choice of joining the movement of liberty, of non-aggression, of work and prosperity, whose members helped them devoid of childism.
      “I think you are terribly mistaken, Miss Stone,” a boy stood up one day, who bore the symbol of the Vaticanian Voluntaryist movement that was given to him by Oana Rain. “I think you do not understand that we do not participate in studying these subjects anymore.”
      The women’s face grew red.
      “You insufferable…” she gritted her teeth.
      Two more students followed the boy, standing up with courage. One of them spoke:
      “We no longer believe that it is to our benefit to be here. Nor do we accept that others decide how we spend our time.”
      “Sit down!” she cried. “Sit down and shut up! If any of you speaks one more word, I will punish the rest of the class!”
      Three more children stood up.
      “We are no longer interested in your punishments. We are here for the knowledge you can offer, and only to those of us who want that knowledge. The others demand that they learn what they are interested in.  Just as it is not the cook or the waiter who decides what they bring to the table but the customers, we, the consumers of your service will decide how and what will you serve us.”
       “We understand,” stood up another, “that no one has our best interest at heart. So we take it for ourselves.”
      They planned it, they rehearsed it and they executed their revolt against their enemies all throughout the Vatican. The children stood up for themselves whose time was gradually drained, their desire to learn slowly crushed by the State Department of Education. Only when Cantharis came did they see that learning, exploring the world is not an enemy of the mind, but the mind’s engagement with the world around them, the prerequisite for change.
      “So many thousands of hours of education,” the Prime explained to them once, when the wind was cold and only tea, and the company of their friends gave them safety, “yet you do not know the nature of the world you live in. Let us start with the basics, did anyone taught you how to interpret your dreams? Because dreams are truly important in our lives, it is our subconscious communicating with us. Have you learnt in those thousands of hours how to master your selves and be creative or be active? It is a skill that must be learnt. They expect you to be great, yet the people whose responsibility is the nurturing of your minds refuse to teach you the most basic requirements of life.”
      “Now, understand, it is not at all your fault. It is the fault of a society that betrayed you. And make no mistake; they did betray you, without a sign of guilt, without second thought. Let us quickly move forward and ask the questions that we will slowly in the following days or months answer together, by observing the life. Who are you in the first place? What is it that you love, you hate, you fear, you desire? Who are the people around you? Do you know them? Do you know their dreams, their past, their scars, achievements? What is the right and wrong way of dealing with them? What is trade, and what are the effects of voluntary trade observed from a greater sight? And what are the effects of a trade that is coerced, that is forced by a State from a greater sight? Do we have a free market, or a market above which looms violence?”
      The children listened, and some adults listened as well, quietly huddled up in the background, haunted by their guilt, by self-hate, and by a rising desire to know.
      A great wall barred the city’s way towards the dreamworld. While millions of dreamers roamed the vast sever on Mars, the outcasts with the violence within their soul were locked away from the open world. And as healing took place among the residents of Vatican, as the coercion of the State was replaced by voluntary trade, the first ruptures began to appear in the wall, the first cracks towards freedom. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

A facebook page.

So I've been thinking of opening a facebook page, but I didn't want to create one solely to my novel, so I created one that worships me instead.

jk.

But I did create a page, which I named "Anarcho-capitalist literature" and if you'd like to see a fancy quote from an ancap/voluntaryist/libertarian thinker each day, linking the source literatue for you to always have something to read, go and hit the like button on that page.

Until then, heres a preview of Chapter IX:

Solaris Midsummer lived through darkness, and vowed to end it with his might.
                Solaris saw plague spreading through his home, where there was no chance to cure the ailment. No technology was accessible to them for that they lived a world that could not sustain great expenses, where the collective owned the means of production. If they ever tried to thrive, food began to disappear from the market that used no price. Such was the nature of a system with no money involved. Not knowing the losses they made, they wasted the scarce resources they owned, like the time and energy of the fellow comrades, resources that could no longer supply the most crucial demands.
                And the plague, the dying, pleading, praying shells that filled the squares reminded him of nightmares, of nightmares that he wished, but could not control. And his dreams reminded him of the truth, of the true and dreadful nightmare that shown him how frail a resource is life, and how easy it is to lose it.
                He saw child abuse from first hand. For questioning what was sacred he faced closed a closed door from the stormy, dark midnight. For standing up for what he deemed right screaming threats filled the airwaves. For resisting commands he was beaten until he obeyed, until he could not breathe from crying, until he had to beg for them to stop, until he learnt where his place was, until his mind went numb from the pain, and acted without control, until his soul was crushed to fine dust.
                And within all that violence, within all that pain and torture, the glimpse of hope have touched him, hope that whispered that he could become someone who rules this nightmare. Not now, not in time he could foresee, but a force existed, a force could be wielded that would repel all the darkness, all the pain…
                He saw rebellion and war, war between those who created cash, and those who hated them for it. And as chaos slowly ensued, the young Solaris departed from his homeland, following the whispers of the old god, who promised him the freedom from the chains.
                The old god of the State.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rebirth of a Theocracy - Chapter VIII

 Chapter VIII

Enemies of the Nightmare

“A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy
as the shadow that he himself casts.”

 Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

     A new day dawned to Mars and the men who lived on the Red One once again begun to act. The planet looked peaceful from above, judged from the sight that Raoul saw. His mighty city was sealed away from strangers under a crackling shield of lightning.
     Oana Rain looked into the dawn. She felt hopeful toward the day. Another day that might bring her entrance to that harsh world, a challenge to overcome that will echo her name through the unforgiving homeland, and act to display virtues that may result in a few kind words from strangers, and after infinite repeats, she may be welcomed in the streets below the apartment she was given, not caged like a beast by the security system, she may roam the agoras freely once more, and at last her daughter will state her terms of mercy, to which she will mutely comply.
     The world itself was quiet, people slowly begun to rise, but their assistants had already been working before that. They arranged, shipped items, opened the door for delivery drones, and arranged again. They checked breaches within the home’s system of defense, and rushed back to pack and ship things again. They got their orders from their sleeping owners. People roamed market dreamworlds, simulations of crowded traditional markets or steel and glass, high malls where they were free to set up their own shops, to trade and look for items they desired.
     Most were immersed in the preparation for war, so they made money out of unused goods they owned. A few bought those cheap goods, and used their money to prepare for the coming rebirth of their world, when they will sell the objects bought under the chaos with a much higher price than they purchased. The money they paid went mostly towards insurance firms from the hands of those who sold their goods, and those firms offered unfaltering security in return, both to their houses and to the city itself in general.
     Weapons were also well-sought. The Celebration of Singularity arrived just in time to arm the public, the faire where scientist presented what they found and how technology embraced those findings. But the faire was set in real life so the square in which it stood slept vacant in the morning.
     The colonials slowly opened their eyes, and the lenses in it projected the latest news to them. All of them read one article named ‘The True Reason Why The Bells Toll,‘ that spread quickly in that morning. It was written by the ethicist Yrra Carson, employed by Dr. Alan Wordsmith.

     “There is a chaos within the system. However all that’s been happening since the return of Dr. Wordsmith is but the effect of this chaos. 
     This singularist cult led by Solaris Midsummer poses a grave danger to our culture. Solaris was an orphan fleeing a war-torn colony of the outside. He came here, but was too late to him. There is a time frame, in which a child can be saved from further scarring, and his tragic fate exceeded that limit.
     His mind was broken, and the orphanage of Dr. Wordsmith tried to help him. We know not the amount of support Solaris received when he lived in the orphanage, and whether the faculty tried everything it could to stop his mental disintegration. These are the questions that Dr. Wordsmith and the Shaman must face from insurance firms and from the public.
     What we as a nation of reason must focus on is: what flaw within our system made possible the thriving of a mad cult?

     Religion may be one. The first time the modern version of Shamanism was called a religion, its believers shrugged and accepted it as such. But the laws of this belief were derived from the people’s rapture towards the Shaman, what he stood for, and from the concept of Transcendence, not from a Holy Scripture or revelation, so it has never been precisely defined. This issue allows the spread of ideologies destructive to mankind under the guise of virtue, just as it did with the cult of Hypnos.
     This observation must be made. And the most crucial preliminary action that must be taken in order to avoid the catastrophe occur twice is to settle a clear, universally preferable definition of the Shamanism that is aligned with the virtues of the Shaman and holds up Transcendence as the goal of Shamanism.
     If we define Transcendence as ‘an event of historical explosion triggered by the accumulated life experience of an individual gained through virtuous behavior, which results in significant personal alterations and has major, objectively measurable interpersonal or cultural impact,’ formulated by Cantharis de la Cruz himself, the definition of Shamanism may be derived from this meaning. But I believe – being one of the followers of Shamanism as well – that I do not need to concentrate my mental powers on this issue for that Transcendence occurs constantly within the human network, like cocoons throbbing, growing in the net of our culture only to one day open up and thrive, transcend mankind with it, and one day such event will bring about the crystal clear definition of Shamanism, purging all the leeches out of it.

     Technology may be one. We live in the mad dream of Ray Kurzweil, as our devices and our world itself requires us to be in the mindset of constant forgetting and learning, adapting to new marvels of engineering for a week or two, before it is dethroned by a greater, more powerful design. We buy our gadgets with instructions uploadable into our minds. We rely on our assistants and burden them with menial tasks whose devoted servitude helps us focus our creative brains towards questions requiring more than matching patterns.
     And in this very moment when I conjure up these sentences takes place the Celebration of Singularity, our greatest annual tribute to our science. We marvel at the synthetic creations, ride those Drakes that made a killing in the market, at evening feast and talk with the great minds behind all this, only to go home and sink back into the infinite Dreamworld, and connect into a server that houses wonders.
     And when before the first rays of sunlight we open our eyes into a new day, and we listen to the sounds of our home devices in the dark room, and let our thoughts wander through the hidden planes of our minds without fully waking, we recall the events of the past days, we see the dark room as something vicious, seeing shadows in the dim light, and with every noise our heart begins to pound like drums, the drums of war that travel through the colony as drought, we shiver and jump up awake and aware, when we hear the name of Hypnos whispered in our mind.
     We yearn for freedom; we yearn for whatever possible limitlessness our devices could bring about, yet we dread it when it finally arrives and bears the face of a dark god. We thought of something tender, something that will enter our life with a painful surgery to lift us from matter into the domain of synthetic, or nanodrones changing us from the inside, rewriting us cell by cell into something that is not technology, but not quite human.
     Let us not fall into the trap of blaming the trigger of a gun instead of the free will that commanded the tool into action. Let us also note that morality will not speak regarding those concepts that the singularists hold as their end. Morality cannot judge the value and rightness of an evolutionary step, it has nothing to say about whether a gene mutation is moral or immoral.
     Morality may judge however the means Hypnos takes to achieve its ends. We may not say it is evil to join an interconnected meta-consciousness and see the world through its eyes, but we may say that it is vile to force the adherents to participate, and slaughter mercilessly those who wish to quit such union, whether they contractually agreed to it or not. We have written about such case in our previous issue.
     Morality may also judge the act of deceiving distant populations, who seek desperately a leader who will lead them through their dark times brought about by the economic collapse due to the inability of economic calculation in their communist colonies, and persuading them that we, the capitalists are the reason of their misery, and making them wage war against us.
     In truth, there lies the source of our current epoch of madness. There in the existence of those worlds that committed collective suicide under our absence. We are in no way responsible for their failure. We are not guilty for grasping that their system could not work, and creating a thriving free market onto the crystal basis of universal morality. We accepted all who sought to become part of our world, educated them and embraced them into our culture.
     And still, the fact that we have chosen not to help actively our ‘comrades’ after the settlement on Mars, and watched them starve and struggle without empathy, exclaiming that they are exercising free choice while suffering the consequences of economic laws, turned us into doctors, who - after developing a cure for the worldwide epidemic – sit back and await the ill in their crystal tower, while the world slowly succumbs to
pestilence.
     I feel it is not right. But I wish to
emphasize that not a single human being has the right to impose involuntary positive obligations or duties to another human being, and therefore I cannot logically say that we are ‘collectively sinful’ or ‘guilty’ in this matter. No. But the following must be stated:
     We are facing dark times. We will shed blood in the act of self-defense as a community; we will wreak havoc to the neighboring realms of Hypnos if we must. And after we emerge victorious from the battlefield, and the haze of war rises from our confused judgement, and we look at our hands bathed in blood, and our brothers lying on the scorched land, we must remember that a philosopher not sharing his wisdom pushes the world into chaos; that the tortured, starving masses who see a divine kingdom of prosperity will raze that city to the ground; and that the payment that the present’s inertia demands is the life and future of those whose souls we choose not to save and fight for.“
     The common men read it, and it had a great impact on their soul. As a consequence, the businessmen read it, for that it had a great impact on the soul of their clients, and when those clients shifted their moral demands towards their tradesmen, those who paid no heed to the conscience of their consumers have found themselves alone in their empty shops, surmounted by their rivals.
     People wanted solutions, peaceful conflict resolutions, channels of communications between them and those who might not be truly lost. Scouting parties volunteered to venture, to gather knowledge about Hypnos, about the technology to be disrupted, to reach the mind of adherents. The volunteers were young, powerful, mostly males from richer backgrounds who seek adventure in life.
      Discussions about the Shamanism arose. Thinkers seeking greatness sought to derive a definition from the origins of the faith, from the virtues of a shaman, and from the requirements of Transcendence. The questions too arose towards the warden of the orphanage, who in duty opened all the files to public that mentioned Solaris, and answered all the questions with great patience and care. He too wanted to know if he made a mistake.
     Oana Rain read it, and paced back and forth in the apartment of Solaris, that he left there for the outcast to use. She was thinking of ways of action that would benefit the city and her. She stopped, and looked around. There was clean order in the room. Order that spoke of no human who lived here, belongings that seemed as if they have never been used, clean and sparkling floor, the couches looking at the holographic display, seemingly untouched.
     But they were not untouched – Oana thought and the face of the young man appeared before her mental eyes, the way that he appeared in his nightmares. When they met, she was grateful. By the end of that day, when the news shocked the populace, and all knew the name of Solaris Midsummer, and the deeds of the cult Hypnos, and the murderous crimes of the cult Hypnos that has been revealed, she trembled alone in the dark room, her mind succumbed to fear, when the closeness of death was clear to her eyes.
     Someone knocked on the front door.
     She gasped. She froze. She pressed her palm against her mouth but couldn’t act. Her racing heart slowly calmed down and she lowered her hand, waiting.
     Someone knocked again, this time even harder.
     “Solaris!” called a voice from the outside, a firm but gentle voice that calmed the fears of Oana Rain. She hurried to the door and opened it.
     Raoul looked at her in shock for a second, not knowing who she was. But the expression of stupor faded, and he smiled in relief.
     “You’re the outcast who Cantharis wanted to help, right?”
     “Yes I’m Oana Rain,” she said and wanted to extend her hand. But the corridor was a forbidden place to her, and she realized that. So she took one step backward and extended her hand inside the apartment, smiling a painful smile. And Raoul saw through it. Raoul saw what that smile means; that she is living here like a dog locked into a cage, and cannot go out, not even out within the building to meet her neighbors, to reach for anyone who could help her out. And within that painful smile hid the soul of Oana Rain that said ‘though I am confined for my past sins, and I am paying for my crime, I will fight ’til all is right.’
      “My name is Raoul Seoc,” he shook her hand. “Is Solaris at home?” he asked, and saw the smile vanish from her face.
     “What’s wrong?” he asked.
     “Raoul,” she said with trembling voice. “Have you not seen the news in the last days?”
     “No, I just got back from the Vatican. I have yet to subscribe back to the web,” he said but felt a growing dread within his heart. “Why, what happened? Where is Solaris?”
     “Raoul… come in, I will tell all what happened since you were gone.”
     Raoul listened and did not care that the hot tea burned his hands. He did not weep, nor did he lash out, act out his anger in pointless destruction. He just listened, asked the questions patiently that rose in his mind, and when he heard all the events that happened in the recent days, he just leaned back and watched the steam ascending from the tea.
     “How do you feel?” asked Oana.
     “I… I feel confused. I mean… I just don’t understand how all this happened without me noticing, or anyone noticing. I do not feel any grief yet, but I will need to mourn my friendship with him. We were friends… all through… all through I searched for Hypnos who killed my parents, he was my friend.”
     “Oh my god, Raoul,” she gasped. “That is so terrible. I am so sorry you have to go through all this.”
     “Yea, I guess. But I feel kinda empty, you know. I mean I know, or I think I know how I should feel, but I don’t really feel it. I am not sad, I’m not angry; I’m just… shocked by all this. I mean before we were gone, he helped me find Hypnos. But I see now it was nothing but a trap, or a lie, or who knows what it was, a plan to distract me from his works, I have no clue. But still, literally that day when we set off, Hypnos talked to me about his plans. And so it was Solaris then… I just don’t understand, you know, I don’t get how he ended up like this. But I really want to know how.”
     “I’ve read about it somewhere, but I’m interested in your views on the subject: did he have a dire childhood?” Oana asked.
     “Yea. Oh yea he did. I mean… he was born outside this world in a different colony, and he fled that city when some chaos ensued. Before that he was beaten, he was yelled at, he was neglected, all the dark stuff. He basically travelled on foot through the desert to get here, ‘following tales of freedom’ as he put it, looking for the colony his people sometimes mentioned in hate. He was around six at that time. So he lived his first five years, when most of his personality develops basically in a nightmare. And it seems he didn’t make it out.”
     “So you were friends? What was the first time you met him?”
     “Oh yea that was…” he remained silent, his heart rending in sorrow.
     “How do you feel, Raoul?”
     “I feel sad,” he whispered. “I really loved that little guy,” his voice broke off, and he buried his face into his hands, weeping, mourning the friendship he never had. He cried without shame or concern about others in that moment, not trying to subdue the choking pain he felt in his chest.
      “I always thought we were great friends…” he said after calming down. “I admired his resolve. But to know that he then long succumbed to that darkness that he held true… What I admired was not strength, but the illusion of courage put up to cover the void… the empty shell of his soul that he sold. Poor Ana when she’ll know it.”
     “Who is she?”
     “She’s his girlfriend, or was, I guess, Annabelle Mionar.”
     Oana gasped.
     “That’s… She’s… She’s my daughter.”
     “Well,“ answered Raoul, raising his eyebrows, “Then I guess we are both in deep shit.”
     “Do you know her? What is she like? Is she all right? Oh my, did she love Solaris? Do you think she knew he’s Hypnos? Will she survive if she’ll know it?”
     “No, she won’t. She is a wonderful human being; I mean she really is, she has a great heart. She is really concerned with learning more about herself, healing her wounds.”
     “I though she is dead. I really did. She fell into a coma…”
     “Yes, I know about that. Do you know what happened with her afterwards?”
     “No, tell me.”
     “Hm…” he stopped for a moment. “No. This was enough shock as of today for both of us. I will tell you later, I swear, but you do not want to hear it now. And please respect my choice in this; let us not ruin our newfound friendship with a petty disagreement. But I can tell you more about who she became.”
     “All right,” she sighed. “Please do tell.” 
     Raoul talked about Ana Mionar, she listened, asked questions and noted everything. She was not simply curious; the hunger in her eyes, the attention that forbids even blinking told Raoul that her existence as a moral being depended on this knowledge. And they talked exchanged their lives afterwards, for long hours until midday arrived, and the residents of the nameless colony returned home for a dinner with their friends and family.
     “I will get some food for us, and I should contact my assistant,” Raoul said, and said goodbye to Oana Rain. He hurried down in the staircase, watching the neural interface to reboot, looking at the displays of the outer world and using the small amount of cash stored in the hard drive of his brain, resubscribing to the web. 
     “Yes, Raoul, I’m really glad to have you back,” a voice resonated in his skull, a voice that instantly answered his call. “Have you heard the recent events after your departure?”
     “Yes I have.”
     “I’m sorry about all this. Rade Nightwood keeps calling me if you have arrived, maybe you should contact him today. I’m sending you the most important articles and news that arose in the past days. Dr. Wordsmith wrote a long one, detailing his experience outside this world, Yrra Carson wrote today one which had a great impact on social life, I suggest reading that first.”
     “All right, any, less important subjects?”
     “Your last catch of Hypnos got quite an attention, and a lot of people came asking for your investigation. I summed the whole thing up, published them in one deal in limited amounts, attaching second grade copies of the original memories that I accessed through the cloud. I made quite a sum of money for us, you know.”
     “Nice, you sold them all?”
     “Yes, and there is no further demand for it really, all information has been published by the buyers.”
     “At least there is one good report. You know, I don’t know what has happened with this world. It used to be a place in which people are actually happy, they considered happiness to be a virtue, and now it is as if all became dark and depressed.”
     “There is hope in the world, my friend. We are still much better off than any of your ancestors through history.”
     “I know… I just want to go back to the old days.”
     “I believe you wish to return to the days of your childhood, Raoul. Also, I sense that your testosterone level is too low, which might contribute to your feeling of mild depression. I am modifying a combat shell for the purpose of scouting the activities of Hypnos in the neighboring colonies. It’s a thriving business now, and I was thinking if you’d accompany me.”
     “When, today?”
     “Yes, this afternoon. We should hurry and end this conflict as soon as humanly possible.”
     “I was thinking of resting, I just came home. I feel completely exhausted.”
     “Testosterone, my friend. Supplement it.”
      The AI ended the call. Raoul put out a sign in the net indicating that he is looking for a drive to the Graveyard of Ships, and seconds later a cloudwalker descended from the skies. And while the driver took him to his destination, he read through the article of Yrra Carson.
     Rade Nightwood was firing up the engines of his ship. The mighty, grey starship’s maneuvering engine blazed with blue fire and then it stopped. The engine rotated and turned all the way possible to it, and then it stopped moving.
      Raoul paid and stepped out of the cloudwalker. He felt the life from the Graveyard of Ships, the force once ripping through the land, missing. The Graveyard was silent, no children laughed; music did not fill the airwaves, and the first weeds begun to conquer the green gardens.
     Rade stepped out of the ship to greet him. They shook hands, and the firm handshake ripped Raoul out of his dark thoughts. He had to grab the man’s hand with his iron grip not to let him crush his palm into fine dust.
     “Oh my,” he gasped. “Is it some new upgrade?” Raoul asked.
     “Maybe it is.”
     “What for?”
     “To wage and win a war, my son.”
      “With whom?”
     “I don’t know yet, there are enough young men eager for adventure, I’m sure they will accept into their team an old veteran from Earth.”
     “And what’s with Kynia?”
     “She moved to downtown to live with one of our sons.”
     “And so the restaurant is closed?”
     “Why, you don’t trust my skills as a cook?” he laughed. “I have a lifetime worth of meal prepared and frozen, you can take any of them if you want. Come.”
     Raoul followed him to a chamber deep inside the starship.
     “So that boy who was your friend turned out to be a psycho, eh? You know, I had a strange feeling that time I met him, as if… I don’t know, he was creepy in some way but I couldn’t explain why.”
     “I have never been able to see deep into him… Maybe there was nothing to see but shadows.”
     “Guess he was better than to reveal himself. And what will you do now? You always wanted to banish the cult of Hypnos; I thought you’ll charge right into it the first time you get this chance.”
     He wanted to reply but a message that appeared in front of his eyes distracted him from speaking.
     “A moment, got an urgent message.”
     Oana Rain wrote to him. She asked for a favor from him, a shopping to be repaid in the future.
     “So there is this girl,” Raoul said, “or rather woman but she looks like she’s twenty. She’s the mother of Ana, the girl who was with us last time.”
     “Oh yea I remember. Wasn’t she an orphan?”
     “Yes, her mother just returned from the Vatican, and she is trying to build up her reputation from the bottom. She just sent me a shopping list, she says it is really important and she could pay back thrice once she’ll have the chance.”
     “I wouldn’t trust a banished.”
     “I think she is trustworthy; we talked a lot today. But, look at the list she sent me.”
     He forwarded the list to Rade.
     “That’s rank one weaponry right there, mostly. Though those whips are commonly used by musicians…”
     “She was a musician.”
     “Maybe she wants to go heavy-metal, I don’t know, ask her.”
     As they focused on the eye-interface visible only to them, they looked as philosophers contemplating under the dim blue light of the ship. The text arrived shortly after asking, and Oana Rain answered “I will go and join the battle against Hypnos.” Raoul felt despair that he communicated to Rade.
     “My assistant is leaving. You are leaving. Oana is leaving, even though I only met her today. I feel like I’m losing the world I live in.”
     “Raoul,” he answered, “why the hell will you not come with us? This is literally what you always wanted to do.”
     Raoul did not answer.
     “Look,” he tried again. “I know you had it rough. And that you are still having a hard time finding your voice in the world. But look at yourself from the outside. You have strength, you have a mind even I would love to have, you warned us about Hypnos even before this all thing came into the surface, and now when the fruits of your labor are ripening, you back down? Will you stand back and watch as your community wins a war against the man that killed your parents?”
     Raoul looked up, and the veins in his neck begun to glow blue. The synthetic gland in his brain began working again to his command. His muscles grew, almost ripping through his brown skin.
     “I have no idea what was wrong with me,” he said. “Let me make a couple calls.”
     The voice of his assistant in his new shell echoed in his skull.
     “How can I address you?” Raoul asked.
     “The name of this synthetic body is Commie-Buster.”
     “What?” Raoul laughed. “Really?”
     “Yes, this is the name it answers. Note that it was named for combat, not political discussions, and the creators wanted to give an aura that boosts the morale yet focuses on the goals of the current combat.”
     “Very well, Commie-Buster. I’ll be sending you a list of groceries that you should get as soon as possible. Have you found yourself a group yet?”
      “Not yet.”
     “Would you join mine?”
     The android hesitated, and then answered.
     “I’d be honored to fight alongside such a great friend as you are, Raoul.”
     “Very nice. Then you are on the boat. Get those items to the apartment of Solaris Midsummer and Ana Mionar in an hour, I’ll be there waiting for you. I’ll gather the forces and then we will create some synergy before we go. Okay?”
     “Okay. It’s good to have you back.”
     He ended the connection. Raoul initiated another call, and Oana Rain answered.
     “Yes?”
     “Oana, your stuff will be there in an hour. Would you join me and some of the people I trust in going against Hypnos.”
     “Raoul! I’m so glad you asked it, I don’t think anyone else would have accepted me. Of course I would.”
     “Cool, I’ll be there soon.”
     Rade looked at him, smiling, as he returned to the real world.
     “You ready for the great fight, then?”
     He nodded, and within an hour, the four of them faced nightmares within simulations. They fought for subjective days until they knew each other as fighters, and as human beings. They awoke later in that afternoon and the starship of Rade Nightwood arose with them, accelerating towards the nearest colony, the last prey of Hypnos.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rebirth of a Theocracy - Chapter IV


Inside the Graveyard of the Pasts

“Anybody who tries to change society 
without examining the family is trying 
to push a shadow without moving a statue.”
Stefan Molyneux

     The simulations held by the Shaman, Cantharis de la Cruz himself, were the greatest challenge the students had chosen to face. He built up realms with countless threats to the dreamers, and to survive, one must use his bodily strength and his mind’s fullest capacity in cooperation with his peers. Courage and determination were the keys to surviving the dreamworlds to fight against the thousand threats the Shaman forged.
     They lived through a siege of their world; they fought against an ancient, lovecraftian old god, or found themselves in the Fall of Terra, being assigned to a role in the society ranging from the highest politicians in power through to cops and surveillance agents, and even laborers with only one task in their mind: to do the what is right.
     They woke up from these simulations with a newfound understanding of their world and more importantly: themselves. It helped them to achieve self-knowledge. When they found themselves in circumstances unknowable to men, they had only one solid and unmovable ground in which to stand: their own self. The self they knew was scarred and abandoned, and the orphans knew they had to learn its laws and rules to gain mastery over their fate.
     The mechanism was written by the Shaman, the ornamentation however emerged from his subconscious; his feelings, his memories and his passing thoughts. On the day of their departure, blood was dripping out of the walls below the city of Vatican, distant screams chilled the students’ already frozen bones, and demonic shadows hunted those who had managed to keep their sanity in this haunted nightmare.
     The Shaman felt all of them. They were connected to his mind, walking the dream he conjured, fighting the challenges he himself programmed. Countless years ago when his mind longed to travel into the unknown, he had studied the art of dreaming from a nameless, calm and wise pratyekabuddha, from an enlightened one withdrawn from teaching in the forests of Azirion, where countless humans hid in deep meditation. They forsook the societies of Mars after the destruction of Earth. “Imbalance in nature,” they reasoned, “destroyed our home planet. It is human action that causes imbalance in the nature; and it is human desire that drives our actions.”
     So they nullified the desires of the body, had their vital organs slowly eaten and synthetically rebuilt by regenerative nano-drones, interconnected their minds, gave their wealth to charities and with nothing but a robe and the book of Tao te Ching, stepped into the forests, never to be seen again.
     Since then, they had been waiting for the end of their lives immersed in meditation, but when the Shaman dreamed, they protected his realm with their presence to keep the dream stable and devoid of intrusion.
     He looked back to the city gleaming in the night. Storm clouds gathered above the realm and he saw lightning reaching from the St. Peter’s Basilica to the heavens themselves.
     No, it was not lightning. It deceived his dreaming mind. It was not pure light flashing in the storm, but a permanent tear in the fabric of the dream and, despite how inconceivable it was, the scar was made of pure darkness.
     The Shaman turned away. Whatever was happening there, his students would handle it.  He’d been searching for the woods to find his master, and now he faced a mountain embraced by starlight.
     Above him flew a sentinel bird, welcoming the guest. Glowing eyes peered at him from between the trees. He stood at the entrance of the forest in which the hidden presences of his dreams, the monks of Azirion lived in animal forms. As the shadows loomed over him, he summoned his ever-changing staff which he always used in simulations. As a torch, it illuminated the path he walked between the trees, followed by the curious eyes of nature’s creations.
     His first step as a lucid dreamer began with the first tree he created in his dreamworld with his master’s aid. The AI intertwined with his brain created a boundless realm within him, to which he returned each night, living in it, forming it. Now he stood before the ancient tree of his dream, its root reaching every region of the realm, its branches reaching further into heavens than any skyscraper made by human hands, and its foliage looming over the great field. The moonlight of Earth’s Luna was shining through its branches. A grey wolf guarded its trunk, and when the Shaman approached, he barely opened his eyes as a gesture of greeting.
     “Master,” Cantharis bowed. “I came to say goodbye.”
     The wolf was the dreamform of the monk who taught him the art of lucid dreaming. He was a man one with nature, his words flowing as a brook in the forest, his mind soared in the freedom and his laughter brought light to any heart suffocating in sorrow.
     He was the last Prime of Earth, who rallied millions to help him end the reign of death, and failed in thinking that the State is the cause, not the effect of the suffering. He failed in seeing the void within men’s heart, the void for violence and for ruling that he didn’t tried to cure, instead destroyed the power that filled it, summoning the birth of a thousand little states, competing, warring, destroying life on Earth.
     And so he became a monk and a man banished by his own choice.
     He oversaw Cantharis’ dreams and simulations, stabilizing them with his presence, being an unchanging anchor in a world of illusions.
     “There are humans,” the Shaman continued, “who need my help and I will give it to them. I…” his voice broke off, and then he continued softly “I am being devoured by the peace I helped to create. I want to struggle and lose hope and fight one more time.”
     The winds shrieked and the whole dream started to heave beneath his feet, the tree wavered as a comet passed through the sky.
     “Stay” whispered the winds.
     A chill ran down the Shaman’s spine. His master, who swore to live a life of observing the flow of nature without disturbing it with human action, had now turned away from his philosophy only to guide Cantharis away from a path clouded with shadows.
     His mind received a memory from his forgotten childhood. A vision from the AI to strengthen the resolve of Cantharis de la Cruz, to help him remember the man who helped him and guided him toward his goal, which was not only the liberation of Oana Rain, but all who deserved a second chance while suffering under the tyranny of the simulation. It was the memory of the first encounter with detective Clark Novaris.
     The child, Cantharis, had laid there strapped, bloody and sobbing in the Chamber of Transcendence when the detective found him. Wings, reaching from the metallic frame toward the ceiling were implanted in his back, made by electrostatic outbursts shielding and holding the countless tiny thrusting engines in place. The wings looked as if they were woven from lightning.
     Novaris opened the iron shackles with a small pointing laser heating its target, helped up the boy and gave him his long, black coat, the wings scratching the fabric as he took it up. From then on, detective Clark Novaris took care of the young Cantharis, he raised him and helped him live with the technological curses his maker Azier, had gifted him.
     His consciousness had returned to the simulation and he felt a familiar, yet forgotten feeling: the feeling of being alive inside the storm of the unknown. As the first obstacle had shown itself, he no longer felt the comforting feeling of being at home with its predictability and ease.
     Violent electric power ripped through his flash, consuming his human shell. His coat turned into dark flames. The wings of lightning ascended from his back.
     He was awake.
     “Too bad,” his voice crackled, and thunders echoed in the distance. “I came to say goodbye, not to seek guidance, my old master. There is no force in the world that could stop me,” he said while the AI in his brain looked for the worst possible outcome of his plan, finding nothing that would stop time itself.
     The wolf growled and with two swift jumps he charged towards the Shaman. Cantharis stood, waiting, looking straight into the wolf’s eyes and said, his voice soft and calm:
     “I see now the reason for your withdrawal from among us. It is your action that you fear of, not the actions of men itself. I won’t blame you; you pose no threat to us from the forests. But know that a man is capable of change if he is guided by reason. And know that a soul that emerged victorious from a battle with its own self is the greatest force a man can master. And know this: I have seen a darkness gathering over our kind, and such force may be the only source of pure light once that nightmare arrives. I have to go, whether you agree with it or not.”
     The wolf growled once again at the Shaman softly and weakly, and then went back to the tree and lay down again, sighing. Cantharis bowed at him.
     “Thank you.”
     The animal didn’t even look at him as he left. The great grey wolf watched the dancing of the grass in the gentle wind, and shivered once in a while.

***
     Men travelled through dark space to Mars, and the vessels that carried him never again rose to the skies. The loyal beasts of technology slept patiently in the Graveyard of Ships, and became homes, housing their owners. All around them gardens were built, children played in the shadows they cast, and the crooked pavement made by Martian stone connected them into one network of mutual help, caring and friendship. 
     Ana held the hand of Solaris Midsummer in a tight grip, and Raoul walked in front of them. When they walked past people, residents smiled and waved at them. Looking around, Ana felt a weight pushing down her shoulder. She realized she walked on hallowed grounds, and looked at sacred people. She walked in the heart of her colony, the genesis chamber of the values they all shared. Here lived the people who traded skills and knowledge, favors and respect, men and women who moved here when their children was born, and spent the first five years of their child, the years most crucial to human development in tranquility and peace. This was the place where the seeds of learning were sown into the children’s minds, the seeds of empathy, of trading and of the sanctity of life. A community modeled the right way of life to the smallest of their kind, and Ana felt fear for knowing that words not spoken in heed, or an action unguided by reason that she displays is an act observed and in time mimicked by the young.
     “I’m not ready to be a parent,” she sighed.
     “What?” Solaris burst out laughing. “What were you thinking of?”
     “Well, if you look around, those children keep glancing at us. If you behave strangely, they will try to mimic you, that’s what children do. So basically we are modelling a behavior to them. I’m constantly aware of the way I walk and what I do and what I say so that they won’t pick up bad habits from me. I bet they even listen to us now.”
     They looked around and didn’t speak for a long moment.
     “Way to ruin the party, Ms Mionar,” said Raoul, interrupting the silence.
     They laughed, and the children around them laughed with them. The neighborhood was quiet, only laughter and music filled the air. Cloudwalkers avoided these skies to respect the wishes of the neighbors and of their insurance firm, and so did Ana and Raoul, parking their car near the Graveyard and walking on foot through the roads.
     “These roads here, you know, have a fun story to tell,” said Raoul. “The man you are going to meet basically built them single-handed, for free.”
     “Why would he do that?” asked Solaris.
     “Well, long story short, he was a businessman, whose company was fueled by state funding. Then he became an anarchist, and spent fortunes on spreading his truth. He argued with many people, and in the end he got fed up with them asking ‘Who will build the roads?’ so at one public meeting he snapped and said ‘I will!’ And so he did, free of charge here.”
     “But why build free of charge?”
     “He said for selfish motives, to see people walk around here, when they otherwise wouldn’t, to see this Graveyard of Ships thriving with life. Well, that’s their ship right there in the end.”
     Raoul was familiar here; he grew up in the embrace of these people. His parents left Earth in the hope of a new, liberated world, only to find themselves in the grasps of the cult that killed them, but after they died, the community protected their little child.
     “They are marvelous cooks,” smiled Raoul as they approached the ship. The man stood in the balcony, smoking and enjoying the sight of the dusk. He looked down; he smiled and waved at them, and then disappeared in the chamber of the cruiser.
     They walked below the majestic, metallic wings to the back of the ship, in a path between rose bushes. Mrs. Kynia Nightwood was already there, commanding the drones to place the wooden tables and chairs handmade by her husband to an empty place in the garden. They greeted the woman, and Raoul introduced her to his friends.
       “Oh my dears call me Kynia. I don’t like the elderly titles,” insisted the woman while shaking their hands. She was energetic, smiling and tall, and had the figure of a thirty year old. “Let me finish the preparations, darlings, and then I’ll be all yours.” She dropped back her white, long hair and returned to the drones until the furniture was in the right place. “Come, come,” she signaled, to which the students sat down, the sight of the sunset to their side, and started to study the menu Kynia sent to them.
     “We have homegrown coffee, tea and marijuana, I take care of the plants personally,” said a melodic voice. They looked toward the ship to see Mr. Nightwood, a muscular man with short, white hair, but his face was clean and young. His age was visible only on his arm in the form of a tattoo, saying: “Made in Earth”
     He shook their hands as well.
     “You can call me Rade. I just came down to welcome you,” he smiled. “I hope you’ll enjoy your evening here. It’s good to see you again, Raoul.”
     “Rade, it’s good to see you too! I was telling them about these roads around us.”
     “Mr. Nightwood, how did you turn from statist to anarchist, against your financial interests?” asked Ana.
     “Oh well that is a great story. You know, the more you delve deep into affairs with the state, he more visible it becomes how evil the whole system is. And then you become corrupt yourself.” He looked into the eyes of his wife, who stood next to him. “And then I met you,” he said to her, “and we had our first child.” He turned back to their guests. “Then I knew I’ll deliver a cruel world into the hands of my kids that will turn into a nightmare by the time they will have theirs. So I stopped.”
     “Yea but how did you become an anarchist?” asked Ana.
     “Well I’ve listen to the Shaman. He was a kid back then, but he led revolutions. And when the wars came, I made sure he gets all the help he needs to gather all the good people from Earth. I built ships and so on, gave it to his movement for free, and followed his lead to a new planet basically with little to no money… but that’s another story,” he smiled.
     “All right,” Mrs. Nightwood said, “I’ll go back to the kitchen to prepare the place, and you kids just take your time to place the orders.” She smiled and hurried back to the ship, leaving his husband alone with the students.
     “Can I ask you a question, Mr. Nightwood?” Solaris asked. The man wanted to say “Just call me Rade, boy,” but when he looked at Solaris, a sudden feeling of unknowable dread overwhelmed him. Solaris stood in front of him, Raoul and Ana to his left and right like guards, behind him blazed the dusk and the dark clouds, the boy looked up at Rade deep into his eyes, not for a second averting his eyes, red eyes burning like the sun behind him, forcing the soul of its target to serve him.
     Rade Nightwood could not look away. “Yes, you can,” he answered in a state of mind that felt like hypnosis to him.
     “How did you help the State to grow?”
     “I… I funded schools that coerced children; I bribed the media not to show the wars... and the ‘gun in the room’… I funded jails…” he said, his voice pleading him to stop.
     “And why did you do these? Did you hate the world? Why?”
     “I saw violence… I was born in violence… my father was a drunk… my mother wanted him to hurt me… and my sister…”
     Ana gasped.
     “Oh my god,” she said. “I’m so sorry to hear that.”
     “So why did you helped the Shaman in the end? Why did you help the world you hated?”
     “I helped him because… I wanted to help the future… to help them not see the suffering that I had.”
     Solaris averted his eyes, and looked up to the glittering stars. The mind of Mr. Nightwood returned to reality. Nobody else saw what happened between them.
     “Rade…” said Raoul. “Are you all right?”
     “Yea, sure, son… it’s just… it’s been a while since the last time I thought about these things. Well, now, I’m sorry for ruining the mood, don’t pay attention to the ramblings of an old man. Take your orders; we’ll be preparing it in no time,” he said, and went into the spaceship.
     They sat down in silence, thinking of the man, the dusk to their right, the ship and the dark night to their left. All around them in the Graveyard of Ships the lights of the neighboring ships, one by one flared up like metallic fireflies, as their owners enjoyed the last hour of sunlight. Children laughed, smoke ascended with the fragrance of roasted meat, and far in the horizon the center of the colony was seen, where blue pillars of space-lifts opened up and closed.
     “It is a lovely place, Raoul!” said Ana.
     “Yes, we used to frequent it almost daily with my parents.”
     “I thought one would avoid the place triggering old memories after such a horrible event” said Solaris, carefully choosing his words.
     Raoul shrugged.
     “This place has an atmosphere of calmness. And…” he stopped for a second; looking at the sunset “I come here to relive the memories. Those memories are the last things that I have from them. Now,” he smiled at them “stop dwelling on the past, at least the investigation is proceeding.”
     “Yup” nodded Solaris and looked at Ana. “We caught a member of the cult. If we’d have strong evidence to prove the inter-human ties between the members, the whole cult could be damaged.”
     “You guys are taking it too far. I mean who knows what mankind could profit from them; they could be a stepping stone to humanity. I’ve heard they live in a state of simulated reality, seeing all the information around them to a sub-atomic level. They have instantaneous communication channels amongst them; one knows what all the others know. And furthermore,” she spoke faster with her eyes glittering, as she became more and more excited, “imagine if all of us were connected! Why would anyone break the nonaggression principle then? We could…“
     “Ana” interrupted Solaris’ calm voice in her mind. “You are talking about the entity that killed Raoul’s parents.”
     She fell into silence immediately, covered her mouth and looked at Raoul in shock.
     “God, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know that…”
     “Nah,” he said, holding up his hand, “not a problem. Thanks for not saying out loud,” he said, looking at Solaris. “You didn’t know. And to be honest, there is truth in what you’re saying. I thought about it a lot, about the cult and all, and they might be right. Their goal might be what we should strive for, but the means with which they are trying to achieve it is corrupt. After I’m done with them, their legacy will be useful for us.”
     “I have looked up all the information regarding this Vatican simulation” said Solaris.
     “Regarding what?” asked Ana.
     “Well, it is a long tale, and I’ll tell it all later, but in short, we know that there is a virus in the Vatican that can be used as a weapon against the cult. What is it?” he asked as he saw Ana looking at him in shock and disbelief.
     “Well I only wanted to bring the subject up later, and before that, I have to tell you that the coincidence is strange, or outright suspicious, so think about it when you make your decision, but the Shaman asked the three of us, if we would like to go with him to the Vaticanian simulation for a week or two.”
     “What the hell…” said Raoul.
     “Did he say why he wants to go there? This is a way too lucky coincidence indeed.”
     “Yes. He told me a lot about that place. It is a statist society, but based on some kind of voluntary contract one signs before entering the simulation.”
     “What is the point of this?”
     “Outcasts live there,” said Solaris in a calm, slow tone. “It is understandable to a degree; those who are unable to cooperate with the principles of this world must find a suitable place to live. And I guess that’s still better than with the commies. Yet still, what a terrible fate,” he shook his head, “to accept your enslavement in despair, after you are not allowed into this world.”
     “There are some who have changed while they were there, and the Shaman wants to help them” said Ana.
     “And what will he gain from it? I mean no sane person would do it for pure altruist reasons.”
     “As I understood, he is terribly bored here. Well, you saw the simulation today, he really wants to go. And I want to go as well. I want to see these people, this world, the difference between a statist and an anarchist society.”
     “That guy… seriously… when a man is bored, he goes to the movies. But when a Shaman is bored, he helps a world to Transcend.”
      “I will go, of course,” said Raoul.
     They looked at Solaris, who was looking at the table, his mind racing through reasons how would he benefit from going.
     “I should go,” he shrugged, “though I have no reason why.”
     “Well then,” said Raoul with a smile, “luck and the gods are on our side, and the Shaman.”
     Androids began to serve the meal, printed meat and homegrown plants and fruit. They were paid workers, an AI assistant residing in a synthetic body programmed to act as a professional servant. The minds were individual persons made by human technology, working and living with their creators in the Martian world.
     They served a joint to each of them, made of genetically modified seeds of cannabis sativa, an organic plant trained to pass the regeneratory firewall of a human mind, infecting the neural system with the same sensation that an unmodified human would feel if he was to inject unmodified cannabis. The plant was specifically programmed to simulate only those effects of its ancestor that enhanced the sensation of tastes, so that they could think and sense within a rational framework, while the food tasted like heavens.
     The students ate, recalled the events of the morning to Ana, and talked about the afternoon’s simulation, their thoughts constantly drifting into the unknowable future that awaits them. When they have finished and paid, they were talking about the symbolism of the Shaman and Hypnos. “It is the pillar between worlds leaving the city influenced by the god of dreams,” as Solaris put it using the meaning of the names.
     They waved at Mr. Nightwood who, standing in the balcony, smoking, returned the gesture. There was another tattoo on his other arm, the pair of “Made in Earth,” saying: “Rests between the stars.”
     The night after dinner came shortly. The students packed the things crucial to an interplanetary journey and arranged their social absence. They froze their academy accounts and traded every mission they were working on with detectives all around the city. Sent a goodbye message to all of their friends and disconnected from the network, to greet their city without distractions.
     Raoul spent the last night with his assistant in its favorite “dress” Anilai. They, as countless other people, had a long, enduring friendship mutually benefiting both party in trade and emotional business. Raoul left his digital wallet open to his friend, since he knew that artificial minds were still underpaid in the market; lacking the abilities of an unconscious, the dream and the insight.
     Solaris Midsummer spent the evening with Lillian and his beloved one last time before departing.
     Minutes before midnight; when the people of the city were still travelling to the space station with elevators, and the dark skyscape above the city showed the blue pillars opening, the lift ascending and the pillar closing again, the rings of the elevators flying to a next order over and over, three drones flew to the top of the school carrying the package of the Shaman’s best students. A moment after, the lift opened and Cantharis turned towards the three stepping out of it.
     The gray and blue metallic falcon at the top of the academy that was Cantharis’ ship slowly rose to the sky. The Shaman and the three were watching the receding city. It was the city in which they were born and raised by the greatest of the teachers and legends, and helped its residents to resolve disputes countless times. They were departing from the city which held their memories, the parks above the skyscrapers where Solaris and Ana spent the warm nights, the skies that Raoul loved to roam, their friends and the happy faces in the streets, the jubilation of strangers all around the colony that filled their world with joy. Their heart were aching and revolting at the same time. First time in their life, the children of Mars were leaving their home planet.
     Cantharis saw the city in the forests of Azirion: a tiny point of light appeared, then another, and within seconds, the blaze of a thousand torches said farewell in the name of his master.
     The guardian of the city left the planet, leaving the joy, peaceful trade and cooperation, and a restless shadow enduring the light.